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Privacy Tech-Know blog: Thinking like a machine – The basics of artificial intelligence

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Humans have long been captivated by the idea of machines that mimic natural life. Examples of automata – mechanical devices that move as if by their own power – date back centuries, through the middle ages and into Ancient Greece. Of course, any semblance of “intelligence” in these machines was an illusion; they were designed by their creators to do specific tasks and move in particular ways, though at times these could be quite elaborate.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Secret Agent 101— Basics of Cryptography

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Individuals and organizations have long had a need to protect secrets from prying eyes. One way in which we protect those secrets is through the use of cryptography, from the Greek kryptós, meaning "hidden” or “secret" and graphein, meaning "writing".  Early forms of cryptography were used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Seeing A Different World: The Possibilities Associated with Augmented and Virtual Reality

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Phones, glasses, and headsets can now all either overlay information on the world we’re looking at or immerse us entirely in imaginary ones. The processes of overlaying information, termed ‘augmented reality’, can be seen when Pokémon appear on our mobile phones, directions appear for nearby restaurants, or our food’s nutritional information is displayed when we point our camera at our plate.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Can We Still Be ‘Just Another Face In The Crowd’?

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Facial recognition technologies can quickly identify who you are by automatically analyzing your facial features. The characteristics of your face (your biometric information) may be collected when you apply for an identity document like a passport, when you get your photo taken for an employee badge, or when you upload photos online to social media websites.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Who's Watching Where You're Driving?

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When you drive down the road or park your car, have you considered who might be recording where your car was at any given time, and where that information is stored and shared? Public agencies and private companies are using Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) systems to track vehicles throughout Canada, today.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Let me virtually assist you

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The way we interact with our digital devices has evolved over time: from specific commands in command line interfaces, to graphical user interfaces (GUIs), to touch-based interfaces. Virtual assistants (VAs) are the next step in this evolution, and they present new privacy challenges. These assistants, such as Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), or simply ‘Google’, are designed to respond to your spoken or written commands and take some action. Such commands let you place phone calls, order a car service, book a calendar appointment, play music or buy goods.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: The actual privacy benefits of virtual private networks

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Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) let you establish a secure communications channel between your computing device and a server. After connecting to the server, you could gain access to a private network that has work files or applications, or use the server as a relay point to then access Internet content when browsing from a public network.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog - Your Identity: Ways services can robustly authenticate you

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Traditionally, we have logged into online systems using a username and password. These credentials are often being compromised, however, when databases containing them are breached or we are tricked into providing the information to fraudulent individuals or websites (often through phishing or other social engineering attacks). Once these credentials are compromised, attackers can use them to log into the associated online services. Even worse, because people often reuse their usernames and passwords, the attackers can access multiple services.

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Privacy Tech-Know Blog: Uniquely You: The identifiers on our phones that are used to track us

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Canadians’ mobile devices are filled with applications that collect personal information, including identifiers that are engrained into different parts of the devices. But what exactly are these identifiers, and how are they used?

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